MIDLAND JUNCTION AND THE WORKSHOPS. Midland Junction, it would seem, is on the eve of the happy realisation of hopes which were first really awakened in July, 1892. On that date, Mr. Allison Smith, a Victorian railway expert, re- commended Midland Junction as a suit- able site for the locomotive workshops. Parliament adopted Mr. Smith's reconi mendation as far back as September, 1895, from which it may be assumed that the mills of Government grind slow- ly. The end of this period of long wait- ing is in sight, and the people of Mid- land Junction may flatter themselves with the reflection that the future be- longs to those who know how to wait. It must not, however, be inferred that the district has lived merely on hope for the last ten years. From its situation, Midland Junction must have been a place of some importance, even if the transfer of the workshops had never been mooted. It is the point of con- vergence of the Eastern goldfields, the Geraldton, and the Canning Mills lines, and also of the main Newcastle and York roads. It has been made the head- quarters of the Midland Railway Co., and at the back of it lies a lot of valu- able agricultural land. Furthermore, the local brickmaking industry has as- sumed some proportions. All these were reasons lying behind the development which has gradually taken place, in spite of the galling delays in connection with the workshops. As a municipality, Midland Junction is one of the oldest around Perth, hav- ing been established in December, 1895. The population, which was then about 500, has swelled to about 3,500 — a se- venfold increase in eight years. Natur- ally, the value of property has increased in sympathy. At the time of the first assessments the annual value of property was estimated at £11,200. Now (includ- ing the accretions which have been made to the municipality) it is set down at £34,000. The most rapid advance took place last year. The estimates for 1903, which amounted to £22,669, are exceed- ed by the estimates for a like area in £1904 by £4,316, while the annexation of Bellevue and other adjoining localities brings the total up to £34,000, as before mentioned. The jump in values was due, no doubt, to the fact that definite steps had been taken in connection with the removal of the workshops. The future of Midland Junction great- ly depends upon its becoming the princi- pal railway town of Western Australia, and if that is to be realised the place should have a splendid destiny before it. A shrewd visitor commenting on this State recently observed that the popu- lation consisted mostly of railway em- ployees. The surmise is, perhaps, justi- fiable if, as has been calculated, the mileage of existing railways per ten thousand of the population is three times as great in this as in any other country in the world. But, calculations aside, the railway servants constitute a large element in the community. A couple of weeks ago, a draft of nearly three hundred men, consisting mostly of the wood-workers and the designing staff, was transferred from Fremantle to the new workshops and offices. When the next big draft will be made is a mat- ter of circumstances. The hopes that had been entertained of having the whole establishment shifted a few months hence went down with the Milton Park, off the coast of West Africa. New ma- chinery must be shipped and erected at Midland Junction before the metal workers, who constitute the majority in the locomotive department, can be re- leased from their congested quarters at Fremantle. Including the Midland Railway employees and the staff of the Government Ways and Works Depart- meat, and others, about six hundred railway men are employed at the Junc- tion, and it is expected that the number will be doubled in the course of a year or two. The local corporation is putting forth its best endeavours to make the town habitable and attractive. Enjoying a climate less humid than that of Perth, and prettily situated as it is near the base of the Darling Ranges. it is not sur- prising that Midland Junction is finding some favour as a residential suburb of Perth. It is the aspiration of Midland Junction — and it is a thought which can be based on something more than the mere wish — to become itself the centre from which settlement will ex- tend into the neighbouring hills. The municipality was one of the first in the State to acquire its own electric light- ing plant, which is already paying work- ing expenses, interest and a little to- wards sinking fund. In other respects, the local corporation has kept in line with the times, and it is worthy of re- mark that the indebtedness of the muni- cipality amounts to only £2,300 — not more than about one-half per cent. of the value of property within its boun- daries. VISIT OF FEDERAL LEGISLA- TORS. Messrs. Mauger and Fraser, members of the Federal House of Representatives,
escorted by Mr. G. F. Pearce, one of the West Australian Senators. paid a visit to the Midland Railway Workshops the other day, and were shown over the dif- ferent departments by Mr. Ower, the Resident Engineer. Mr. Mauger ex- pressed his surprise at the magnitude of the works and the character of the ma- chinery being installed there. He also commented on the fact of the whole of the work being carried out by the Go- vernment without the intervention of the contractor, and remarked that the workshops, when completed would be the largest and most up-to-date in the Southern Hemisphere.